TO WRITING A
CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SONG
Colours of Light [continued]
As the NIV translation puts it, “…he has made his light shine upon us…”. I have read and heard of others who delve into the spiritual representation of the seven colours of God’s light (Revelation 4.3), and the primary colours found in the Trinity or the layers of colour in creation found in Genesis. However we look at this, it is evident that throughout scripture, there is light, and colour - and God embodies them all. Some describe conversations in heaven as the transmitting of light - it is so fast and multifaceted that the sound of words as we know them are not enough to capture their entirety. Wow - this stuff is a bit out there you might think? What about the great light Paul encounters on the way to Damascus that knocked him off his horse, or the tongues of fire in Acts 2, and God described as the “Father of heavenly lights” (James 1.7).
Psalm 118:27 describes and acknowledges the Lordship of God, “God is the Lord”, and then describes how He administers and endows us with His light, “He has given us light” in this exchange taking place during worship. The response is to rejoice and celebrate, as they all “join in the festal procession”.
Psalm 118:27, "Blessed are you who enter in God’s name— from God’s house we bless you! God is God, he has bathed us in light. Festoon the shrine with garlands, hang colored banners above the altar! You’re my God, and I thank you. O my God, I lift high your praise. Thank God—he’s so good. His love never quits! (The Message)
Psalm 118:27 "The Lord is God, Who has shown and given us light [He has illuminated us with grace, freedom, and joy]. Decorate the festival with leafy boughs and bind the sacrifices to be offered with thick cords [all over the priest’s court, right up] to the horns of the altar." (The Amplified Classic, AMPC)
I always like to delve a bit deeper whenever I see a mention of a worship experience in the bible (or whenever reading the bible about anything actually), and see how other translations describe this, as well as seeking out the original text. It is clear in this passage that there is more involved here. Many translations describe it is a ‘festal procession’ - and this introduces the whole concept of food and joyous communion, which we would call a ‘having a party’. Note also, there is a ‘procession’, which some translations describe as ‘marching’ - in other words, there is action and co-ordinated congregational movement (could this be like choreographed dance?). Even so, the thought that the worship experience moves from one ‘place’ or ‘state’ to another is an important part of what I often find to be lacking in many worship songs. It certainly explodes a whole plethora of possibilities when I dig deeper into this concept as I am helping others to develop their own worship songs. As I unpack this for them in their unique songwriting context, it always opens up so much more for their own songwriting potential, and the power and integrity of expression in their song increases by insurmountable measure.
Here in Psalm 118.27, we see a strong reference to Jesus being led to the cross. Other translations describe ‘branches’ - representing the waving of banners of peace and celebrated triumphal decoration. The picture of the worship experience in the Psalms, with ‘festal processions’ and ‘boughs in hands’ on the way to tying the sacrifice to the altar - is just like the palms being waved in triumphant celebration on Jesus’ way into Jerusalem (John 12.1). This is before He was bound to the altar (the cross) where He, as the ultimate sacrifice, died and rose again to set us free forever from the bondage of sin and death. In the context of Psalm 118, the description of worship in the Old Testament Testament is restricted to the Old Covenant and the laws and conditions of that time before Christ. However, the symbolism is strong and the reality for us today must be filled with so much more freedom and reasons for joy and celebration. Just as a side thought, a Songseed here would be to create a song describing the journey of worship where we not only celebrate what Jesus did, but we literally describe taking sin and death to tie them upon the altar in the embodiment of His ultimate sacrifice. Further, we would be doing so in the victorious celebration of knowing that He rose again and defeated sin and death forever. Wow, what a worship song you could turn that thought into!!
In all of this, there is an incredible understanding of a recurring theme in worship whereby we celebrate the ultimate power of who Jesus is and what He did (and continues to do). However, there is also the recurring theme of the nature and character of God - the worship experience involving a revelation of God as light, and that light which He shines upon us in inexplicable glory and limitless magnificence.
So, to return to my opening thought... when I am creating music during a worship experience, I become aware of these indescribable ‘colours of light’ - which I believe are the reflection and embodiment of the presence of God as His light shines upon me. This week, perhaps when you go to write your worship song or even just as you go to worship - take a moment, and just savour the limitless beauty as you dwell in the sense of His presence, and bask in the wonders as His light shines upon you.
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“Working with Paul was a fantastic experience. He possesses all the skills necessary to create incredible music. He is equally adept as a songwriter or as a producer. As a songwriter he has a great ear for both melody and lyrics and as a Producer he knows how to treat and draw the best out of a song”
Paul Avanti Iannuzzelli (MMus, BMusEd) studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Sydney, and later at Oxford University, England. He has written and designed courses for Schools, Colleges and delivered University level programs all over the globe.
Paul has worked on projects with some of the world's most successful songwriters and musicians. He has ministered with and alongside well-known worship leaders.
Paul's songs have recorded and released globally.
As a Music Producer, Music Publisher, Songwriter, Author, Poet and Painter, Paul aims to share his decades of experience and knowledge with you in helping you to write your own worship song.